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Levee breach upstream saves Nauvoo House

SHARE Levee breach upstream saves Nauvoo House

A breach in the levee at Gulfport, Ill. is wreaking havoc in that region but was a lifesaver for the historic Nauvoo House located downstream.

Nauvoo City Police Chief Don Faulkner said the levee failure near Gulfport relieved pressure on the levees at Nauvoo and the flood level of the river has gone down as a result.

Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints filled sandbags and used them to strengthen the levee behind the historic house last week as the river was rising.

Faulkner, who visited the site this morning, said pumps are running to keep water seepage from accumulating and causing damage to the house. The flood level will likely remain high for at least the next several days, and possibly as much as two weeks.

Weather has been sunny and warm, he said, and this week there is only a 20-30 percent chance of rain on Friday.

Upriver, the breach near Gulfport flooded the hamlet of Meyer. As a result, the 40 to 50 people living in the small farming community there had to be evacuated.

Julie Shepard, Adams County Emergency Management Agency, said flooding here could put 30,000 acres under water.

The Nauvoo House, built on the edge of the Mississippi River, was meant to be a boarding house for travelers. When LDS Church founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed, their bodies were secretly laid to rest in the cellar of this building to protect them from the mob.

The historic building, which was never entirely completed, was acquired by the Community of Christ Church in 1909 and remains in its possession today.